A Conversation with dee Brown

I met with dee Brown, an inspirational guitarist, composer, producer and arranger. Hailing from Detroit he has currently released his albums No Time To Waste (2006) and A Little Elbowroom (2009).

hbh: dee, what is the history of the title of your second album?

dee: After the completion and success of my first CD “No Time To Waste,” I thought the appropriate title of my recent release should be “A Little Elbowroom” because we really had just a little “elbowroom” left over to produce this one.

When I refer to “elbowroom,” I’m simply looking for enough room to move around freely. And when I mention “freely,” I’m talking about cashing in on the opportunity to maneuver easier within the music industry. Because of Nu Groove Records’ history and reputation of supporting artists like Jay Soto, Michael Lington and Bob Baldwin, we felt more than comfortable with the elbowroom Nu Groove promised us.

We were blessed with three wonderful producers for this project. Chip Dixon, from Detroit, who has worked with William Murphy Jr., Sean “Puffy” Combs and Dark Child (Rodney Jergenson) was joined by fellow Motor City resident Valdez Brantley, who is Usher’s music director, and a producer-keyboardist, who has also worked with Sean “Puffy” Combs, plus New Kids on the Block, Mary J. Blige and Teddy Riley.

The third member of the production team is my label mate Nate Harasim, another Detroit area native whose resume highlights several CD cuts as a Smooth Jazz pianist. One of Nate’s recent projects includes a session with De’Nate, where the vocals of Deborah Connors is showcased. Darren Rahn also contributed on tenor sax. You can add Jay Soto, Nick Colionne and Norman Brown to the list of artists Nate has worked with. Our CD also features the bass of Dave “The Painter” Henderson and Valdez’s brother, Kern Grantley, who is also the music director for Neo, Dezie McCullers on sax, Frank McCullers show casing the trumpet and the vocals of Gerard Brookes.

If you listen carefully, you’ll pick up the way I express my love for the guitar, as it is carries each track’s melody, and truly provides the true essence of knowing what having “A Little Elbowroom” is really all about.

Continue reading A Conversation with dee Brown

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Tour De 4Force – Quiet Moon

This 5 member group is comprised of Scherrie Payne, Joyce & Pam Vincent, Theresa Davis – all former members of well-known and highly successful singing groups (Supremes, Tony Orlando & Dawn and The Emotions, respectively) – and Jim Gilstrap, who is considered to be one of the most prolific and successful session singers in the industry.

Tour De 4Force also gathered the support of many other successful and respected artists on the Quiet Moon CD – including former Temptations lead singer, Ali Ollie Woodson. Woodson’s vocals are featured along with the groups on the Gilstrap-penned “Four Walls” and “Heaven Bound,” a song originally recorded by Chaka Khan & Rufus under the direction of Quincy Jones.

Buoyed by loyal fans who have followed the careers of these talented performers through the years, Tour De 4Force is already enjoying a favorable response to their formation, as evidenced by the multitude of hits to their music playlist on their Myspace page – over 100,000 in only 3 weeks! Check Quiet Moon at CDBaby.

Phil Traynor – Autumn Breeze

Phil Traynor has been a musician for about 35 years. He plays drums, bass, keyboards, and guitars. Phil’s early influences that pointed him toward the Jazz world include Chuck Mangione, Pat Metheny, Yellowjackets, Spyro Gyra, Tim Weisberg, and the Bob Mintzer Big Band. Phil is also heavily into Harry Connick Jr., and many independent artists. Being an indie himself, Phil is a staunch advocate of the independent music community. Most of you buy records, and don’t even realize how many thousands upon thousands of musicians, singers, and songwriters there are that have every bit of the talent, drive, and skill of the mainstream music community, but they just haven’t found the right break.

Autumn Breeze is the culmination of 25 years of songwriting, arranging, and playing experiences. It is a passionate collection of jazz with influences ranging from Jeff Lorber to Chuck Mangione to Bob James to Pat Metheny, and other greats in the jazz and folk world.

Phil has put together a distinguished group of outstanding musicians on this CD; including Emmy® winner and two-time Grammy® winner Chris Vadala (The Chuck Mangione Quartet); Emmy® nominee, and National Fingerstyle Champion Pete Huttlinger (John Denver, Le Ann Rimes, many others); Tampa Bay smooth jazz saxophone and vocal legend Stacey Knights; guitarists John Kelly, Douglas Lichterman, and Jimmy Dacey; keyboardist Dan O’Hara; and the incredible brass work of Bayside Horns.

Autumn Breeze is Phil’s third album and now on sale at CDBaby.

Main Gazane – Tit For Tat

Main Gazane, an old jazz term meaning my “main man” or my “main thing” is a new contemporary jazz group made up of keyboardist Mark Minchello and multi instrumentalist Bob Magnuson.

Mark Minchello is no stranger to the smooth jazz world. He started his career by touring with Luther Vandross and has since gone on to work with many other Jazz and R&B greats. He has most recently been serving as musical director for R&B Diva Regina Belle. He has also been keyboardist/musical director for two Jazz Explosion Tours featuring Boney James, Will Downing, Gerald Albright, Vesta and Regina Belle. He has recently produced smooth jazz trumpeter Gordon James featuring Chuck Loeb and Slide Hampton.

Bob Magnuson is a fixture on the New York studio scene. He has performed on countless radio and TV commercials. He has been featured on CDs by Patti Austin, Whitney Houston, Phobe Snow and B.B. King. He most recently has been touring with the 3 MO TENORS and Broadway R&B diva Jennifer Holiday. Not only is Bob proficient on all the woodwinds but he also excels on the electronic wind synthesizer.

Their newest album is entitled Tit For Tat and features 10 originals and 3 covers. The covers include Billy Ocean’s Caribbean Queen, Rolls Royce’s Wishin On A Star and The Whispers Rock Steady. The CD is a funky mixture featuring piano & sax. This is the fourth CD from the duo of Mark Minchello (keys) and Bob Magnuson (sax). The music is acessible yet engaging often referred to as smooth jazz with an edge. Tit For Tat is now available at CDBaby.

Jeff Hall – Cadillac Club and Detour Ahead

The week of February 22, 2010 marked the debut of the Mahogany Digital imprint, the newest label in Kevin Mahogany’s “Mahogany Jazz” family. Vocalist Jeff Hall, Kevin Mahogany’s protégé, is the first release to radio with the two singles Cadillac Club and Detour Ahead.

More about Jeff Hall:

Discovered by Kevin Mahogany, Jeff Hall has the vocal prowess reminiscent of jazz legend Mark Murphy. Hall brings a new urgency and street sense to traditional jazz, as evidenced by his vocal presentation and his on stage appearance. Hall defines a new direction for vocal jazz.

“When I heard Jeff, there was a quality in his voice there was a uniqueness to his sound,” Mahogany said with regard to his decision to introduce Jeff to the public. As a lyricist himself, Mahogany recognized Hall’s outstanding talent and assigned him the task of writing the lyrics to Cadillac Club.

Jeff Hall’s Cadillac Club and Detour Ahead singles will be the first singles to launch the new Mahogany Digital label. Don’t miss your chance to feature one of the hottest rising stars on the touring circuit today. All Jeff Hall singles will be available through various online retailers like iTunes, Amazon.mp3 and Rhapsody.

Sample and purchase the music at  reverbnation.com. Sales on Amazon begin March 8, 2010.

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Kevin Peter Jones – Magnetic Journey

Drummer Kevin Peter Jones can look back on an excellent education. During his time at Elk Grove High School he met world renowned jazz drummers Gene Krupa and Buddy Rich. Although trained as jet engine technician, flight engineer and pilot in the US Air Force his affinity for music never faded away.

He performed with The Yellowjackets, Bernard Wight, Wayman Tisdale, Will Kennedy and met the artists David Weckl, John Patitucci, Russell Ferrante, Jimmy Haslip, Sado Watanabe, Chick Correa and Steve Smith.

Kevin has just finished his debut album Magnetic Journey (2009). To make it special he invited top-notch artists like Eddie Baccus, Jr., Russell Ferrante, Jimmy Haslip, Eric Marienthal, Scott Ambush, and Mike Miller.

After the first notes of Modaji the listener already knows, that Kevin has created something exquisite with a great love to the detail. Dave Grusin composed this tune for Harvey Mason’s album Marching In The Street (1976) and published it one year later on his own record One Of A Kind. The rendition is a little slower than the original, but there is enough space for Eddie Baccus’ saxophone solo. Russell Ferrante delivers the retro feeling with his superb performance on Rhodes.

Continue reading Kevin Peter Jones – Magnetic Journey

Jonathan Butler – So Strong

According to Smooth Jazz Network Jonathan Butler has just recorded his album So Strong. The new album will be released on Rendezvous Records (Mack Avenue) on May 11, 2010. So Strong features 10 original songs written or co-written by Butler, and a cover of Johnny Nash’s I Can See Clearly Now.

Jonathan Butler comments his new project: “You can’t keep your head down all the time. You have to celebrate. With all that’s presently going on in the world, I felt the need to give something to the fans, to offer hope. I had to get to that fun place again. The album is a departure; it’s optimistic and positive. It’s get up-and-dance, and feel good. … It’s all about just letting go. It’s about fun with flavor and a lot of feeling. I call it the three Fs: fun, flavor and feeling.”

Guest musicians on the album, which was mainly recorded, arranged and composed by Butler are Dave Koz, Rick Braun,  Gordon Campbell, Angie Stone and Butler’s daughters Randy and Jode, which delivered background vocals.

Source: Smooth Jazz Network

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